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post #271 of 2072
Thread Starter 

That's one I'd really like to hear. Bryston was smart enough to avoid SABRE and use an AKM chip.

post #272 of 2072

SABRE. Avoid? Why? Most DACs use SABRE chips.

 

Speaking of SABRE, how long until you get your hands on an Oppo HA-1?

post #273 of 2072
Pirates prefer cutlasses to sabres evil_smiley.gif
post #274 of 2072
Quote:
Originally Posted by schneller View Post
 

SABRE. Avoid? Why? Most DACs use SABRE chips.

 

Speaking of SABRE, how long until you get your hands on an Oppo HA-1?

 

I think it's pretty clear purrin and some of his friends just aren't a fan of most SABRE implementations and overall think there are better chips for audio. As such, this shows in their thoughts and rankings, but I think their explanations also show that they understand many might actually prefer some SABRE implementations. Just keep that reference point in mind.

 

Also, popularity does not necessarily equal best on subjective or objective terms. You have to consider factors like price and ease of procuring materials (also bulk purchases), buzzwords and marketability of product (omgwtfbbq look how good this ODAC measures), and so on. Often these factors do not equate to the best option or the option we should most highly consider.

 

Would you wager that most burgers sold in the US use high quality meat? While I can't plug my audio gear into burgers, I think you'd be hard pressed to say McDonalds' and many other fast food restaurants' "meat" shouldn't be avoided because many or most burgers use it. Bad analogy. Now I want a Big Mac.


Edited by hans030390 - 1/15/14 at 2:21am
post #275 of 2072

I know the Sabre 9018 is fashionable, and I understand it's all in the implementation, but I personally think the "sheen" I hear with that chip makes it most unmusical.  Doesn't sound real.

 

YMMV, but it's not for me.

 

I prefer the AD 1955's run dual differential, as in the Emotiva DC-1 and in the upcoming Cambridge Audio 851D.

 

Just my 2 cents!

post #276 of 2072
Quote:
Originally Posted by hans030390 View Post
 

 

I think it's pretty clear purrin and some of his friends just aren't a fan of most SABRE implementations and overall think there are better chips for audio. As such, this shows in their thoughts and rankings, but I think their explanations also show that they understand many might actually prefer some SABRE implementations. Just keep that reference point in mind.

 

 

This really is something that most people who have experience with a number of DACs conclude as well.

 

Invicta, Vega, X-Sabre seem to be the more acceptable SABRE DACS out there. With the Pure DAC and D2

maybe riding the outskirts.

 

Seems to me the SABRE chip is a PITA, which is incredibly difficult to get right and even then it's 'off',

comparative to other's.

 

Most of all preference is the more important factor to consider. Invicta - detail, Gungnir - excitement - Sabre - polite, etc.

There's usually an aim to find a middle ground, which often doesn't come cheap.

post #277 of 2072

Purrrin and friends, have any of you heard a Buffalo III? I believe it uses a Sabre chip, but to my ears doesn't have some of the extreme characteristics of most Sabre DACs. If you haven't had a chance, I would recommend trying to get your hands on one. 


Edited by Greed - 1/15/14 at 9:22am
post #278 of 2072

Can u review the NuForce DAC-80?

Its  AKM AK4390

post #279 of 2072

If the Sabre chips are so widely disliked why are they being used by so many companies currently.  Honest question, not trying to imply they are good/bad, just wondering.

post #280 of 2072
Quote:
Originally Posted by barid View Post
 

If the Sabre chips are so widely disliked why are they being used by so many companies currently.  Honest question, not trying to imply they are good/bad, just wondering.

 

I don't think they're widely disliked at all, just take a peak into the Portable Audio forms here. People rave and cut down any company that releases a DAP without a Sabre based DAC. I can't speak for others of course, but I feel Sabre DACs have some slight unnaturalness to them. They are technically "accurate" and measure very well, but most don't sound very natural to my ears. I think a lot of companies use them because of what I said - they measure extremely well. It is something for those companies to market to people who don't know better. My 2c

post #281 of 2072
^ I don't think they are widely disliked. I think the 'why are they being used so widely' has been addressed with one or two recent posts.

Purrin et al. are in the relatively unusual position of having compared a lot of dacs under similar conditions, and - like Paradoxper and Boatheelmusic - find something 'off' about them.

For most of us with experience of only a few dacs, maybe only one, we're not likely to notice this 'house' sound common to one or other chip. We'll just decide we like this or that manufacturer/model more/less won't we?!
post #282 of 2072
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post
 

I know the Sabre 9018 is fashionable, and I understand it's all in the implementation, but I personally think the "sheen" I hear with that chip makes it most unmusical.  Doesn't sound real.

 

Things which are coming clear to us about SABRE

 

  1. Whether it's treble sheen, graininess, or whatever, something funky always seems to manifest in the treble. Most SABRE DAC implementations will have that mid-high treble sheen. The better ones will minimize it (a fine grain or have a slight unrealistic quality like Finn after he swallowed a tiny computer: http://adventuretime.wikia.com/wiki/Finn - scroll down or search "swallowing a tiny computer"). The mediocre SABRE DACs will exhibit one of more of the following in order of severity or evil: glare, etch, hardness, sibilance.
  2. Lack of bass pitch differentiation and texture. This is an area were R2R DACs excel. Some delta-sigma DACs do pretty good here too. SABRE DACs tend to treat all bass notes as indistinct blobs. It's hard to understand what's been missing all along until one hears a good R2R DAC: http://www.head-fi.org/t/625793/audio-gd-master-7-discrete-fully-balanced-dac-pcm1704/1140#post_10149405
  3. SABRE DACs tend to handle DSD streams better than PCM. However, the differences are so subtle that we'd rather convert DSD to PCM in realtime, i.e. via JRiver MC to a good non-SABRE DAC.
  4. This does not mean we hate all SABRE DACs. Two ninjas (I was one of them) very much liked the Auralic Vega. Auralic minimized the SABREs weaknesses without trying to cover them with syrup and honey like the Resossnesnessence Invicta. By doing so, Auralac was fully able to maximize the SABRE's potential, e.g. resolution, attack, precision, pace, etc. to such a high point were we would be willing to overlook its issues. It's never black or white.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greed View Post
 

Purrrin and friends, have any of you heard a Buffalo III? I believe it uses a Sabre chip, but to my ears doesn't have some of the extreme characteristics of most Sabre DACs. If you haven't had a chance, I would recommend trying to get your hands on one. 

 

Yes. It highly depends upon the build. There were two builds I really liked. Even changing one of the regulators on the B3 board radically changed its sound. Still, the best B3 implementations still have a little bit of that SABRE quality. There were also many other B3 builds I have heard which were peculiar (another word for horrible.)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FredrikT92 View Post
 

Can u review the NuForce DAC-80?

Its  AKM AK4390

 

If you send it to me. :-) There's so much! 

 

BTW, I know a few of you guys have generously offered to send me some DACs for evaluation. I'm going to have to take a rain-check on those. We still have a small backlog of DACs we still need to compare notes on and rank. Maybe in another month. I want to take a break and enjoy music for a while rather than listen to more DACs.


Edited by purrin - 1/15/14 at 10:49am
post #283 of 2072

@ barid

Marketing and fear of missing out.  Doesn't hurt that arguably the first DAC in the modern-high end "computer DAC" market happened to use and advertise the 9018.  Subsequently many DAC-makers hopped on and advertised their own DAC as using this premium chip used in the much more expensive DAC.  Seems like it snowballed from there.

 

Privately, some manufacturers have stated that the chip is very buggy and a pain to work with, that NDA's need to be signed to even view real measurements (so consumers can never see some purportedly enigmatic behavior, particularly in the 20Khz+ range), and some users report glare/sheen/brightness and a somewhat unreal presentation.  The good implementations I've heard seem to skirt these issues for the most part, but the bad ones kind of remind me of seeing the first Hobbit in theaters with its very unnatural looking higher framerate.  

 

The pendulum is starting to come back around, at least in the higher end of the DAC market, where R2R seems to be making inroads again.

 

Anti-hype is the backlash of hype.  Some of the more hyperbolic statements about the Sabre DACs have been roughly proportional to the tremendous hype they have enjoyed the last couple years.


Edited by Radio_head - 1/15/14 at 10:32am
post #284 of 2072
And don't overlook the diffuse imaging, at least through good 2 channel speakers!
post #285 of 2072
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post

And don't overlook the diffuse imaging, at least through good 2 channel speakers!

 

Heh, yeah. Thanks for pointing that out. The diffuseness contributes to a sense of openness. This is a good thing. However, I've noted a tendency for images to be fuzzy, ill-defined, or unstable with most implementations.  But I can't say I found imaging issues specific to SABRE though.


Edited by purrin - 1/15/14 at 10:44am
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